The voices bellowing through the door were filled with unmistakable laughter. Sheila from my old neighborhood is full of life and her laugh is infectious and uniquely hers. I came out of my room to hug her and her three beautiful daughters, mostly grown now. We all paused to catch up on the chaos of life and the ins-and-outs of all that has gone on since the last “dye party.”
Every six weeks, Sheila and my wife, dye each other’s hair. It’s a long-standing tradition dating back to the days when neither could afford the luxury of someone professionally doing it. We lived as neighbors on the cul-du-sac for 13 years. Sheila’s husband had gone off to war and we threw a party to send him off. We began to check in and make sure things were good, and all our girls were in proximity to one another in school. Our cul-du-sac began to take shape with block parties and genuine care and concern for each other. Over time…a divorce here, a baby there, an illness, a death, another deployment, and many prayers and conversations led to Exchanged lives—17 of them in 13 years.
We moved 7 years ago and the relationships and ties still hold. We still keep up, care for, call on one another, and pray for our Neighbors. In our new neighborhood, the relationships are building. We are now in a neighborhood Life Group and slowly the trust is being built and conversations are taking shape. We have chosen again to engage our neighbors because we know the joy of lifelong friendship, the community of bearing burdens, and the joyful laughter.
“Who is my Neighbor?” is a question of limits. “How can I love my neighbor?” has none.